April 2, 2013
NEW YORK -- The University of Iowa men's basketball team has a championship date Thursday after downing Maryland, 71-60, Tuesday night in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in Madison Square Garden.
The Hawkeyes will face Baylor for the NIT title. The Bears advanced courtesy of a 76-70 victory over BYU in the first game of Tuesday's NIT doubleheader.
After taking a 38-33 lead into the half, the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 12 points (47-35) during the early stages of the second half behind a Zach McCabe 3-pointer and a steal and dunk by senior Eric May. Maryland answered with six-straight points to trim the margin to 47-41 and to 49-45 on a 3-pointer by Nick Faust with 11:57 to play.
Every time Maryland made a run, Iowa had an answer.
Sophomore Aaron White's free throw opened a 7-0 Hawkeye spurt to push the lead to 11 with 8:35 to play. Iowa led 58-48 with 6:36 remaining, but the Terrapins wouldn't go away.
"We're used to playing in close games, teams making runs and coming back on us," said junior Roy Devyn Marble, who led all scorers with 21 points. "We had to make plays down the stretch, and we did that again tonight. As long as we continue to do that, we should be able to close out games efficiently."
Maryland trimmed the deficit to five points (61-56) on a layup by Dez Wells with 4:01 remaining. After a McCabe jumper put Iowa back up seven (63-58), Alex Len's layup made the score 63-58 with 3:05 left.
The Terrapins made enough plays to hang around, trailing 66-60 with 2:16 to play, but May drained a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down with a little over a minute remaining to wrap up the Hawkeye victory.
"That was the one that put it away," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "I certainly wasn't surprised. He has been playing like that all year long."
May said the opportunity for the shot developed late, and he felt confident stepping up and knocking it down.
"The play kind of broke down and Zach came off and set a great ball screen and had a great read," said May. "It was wide open, and I was confident at that point. The shot clock was going down and I needed to take a shot. It felt good leaving (his hand)."
Marble's 21 points came on 8-of-16 shooting, which included a 2-of-5 performance from 3-point land. The guard also made 3-of-4 free throws and finished with a career-best nine rebounds and three assists. It was Marble's fourth-straight 20-point game in the NIT.
May finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, while White netted 10 points, making 8-of-10 free throws, along with nine rebounds.
The Hawkeyes shot 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field and were 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from long range. Maryland made 23-of-57 attempts, including five 3-pointers. Iowa had a 10-point advantage at the free throw stripe, making 19-of-24 attempts, while the Terrapins were 9-of-16.
Maryland out-rebounded Iowa, 39-36, but Iowa forced the Terrapins into 17 turnovers, which translated to a 27-2 advantage in points off of turnovers. The Hawkeyes committed just eight turnovers in 40 minutes.
Len paced the Terrapins with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Faust was the only other Maryland player in double digits, netting 14 points.
After falling behind 4-0 to start the game, the Hawkeyes reeled off 11 straight points before taking an 18-8 lead at the 13:23 mark. Marble keyed the surge, scoring 10 of the 18 points during the stretch. Iowa proceeded to push its advantage to a game-high 14 points (33-19) with 5:13 remaining in the first half.
The Terrapins closed the gap heading into the break, using a 14-5 run to cut the margin to 38-33. Iowa shot 40 percent (12-of-30) from the floor and made 12-of-14 free throw attempts; Maryland shot 49 percent (14-of-29) from the field, but was just 1-of-1 from the charity stripe. The Hawkeyes scored 18 points off 10 first-half turnovers.